March 9, 1922 – June 26, 2019
Eva Romano passed away in her sleep on a late, hot summer afternoon under Hospice care. She was in her own room in the home she lived in with her grandson Blake and his family for the past ten months. In her final 48 hours, she was in their company intermittently during that time as well as with her daughter. Eva was never alone except for less than 5 minutes and that is when she took her last breath. It must have been her wish because she never wanted to “be a bother to anyone” or have others “fuss” over her, and so she held true right up to her last moment leaving behind a legacy of gentility and selflessness. She cared deeply about everyone else’s needs and because this was so authentic, no one ever voiced a criticism of her because she was truly loved by everyone in her circle. She made others feel her warmth just by being her true self. In her last few months Eva frequently asked “Is today Tuesday?” It made no sense that it was always that day she asked about and no other, but then it started to make sense when her final physical decline began on a Tuesday, the day before she died. On 7/23 she will be buried and that is a Tuesday as well. Eva donated to the poor and the hungry and gave the gift of time as a senior citizen long ago volunteering to check patients into the emergency room of the local hospital, as well as greeting and collecting tickets from patrons of the former Sundome of Sun City West. She was grateful for phone calls and cards from relatives and friends and generous to all beyond expectations. Her family was everything to her; she prayed her blue glass rosary beads daily for them and for anyone who needed prayers. She prayed for the victims of tragedies around the world, especially for world hunger and children and for 911 and all the affected families. Anything and everything that happened in New York City, her home for over 60 years, was important to her and, therefore, close to her big heart. The Bronx and later, Yonkers, were her New York residences before retiring in Sun City West, Arizona in 1983. Eva was not afraid to die, perhaps because she lived in the true spirit of global compassion and certainly because she knew she was to join all her loved ones in heaven: her beloved husband Dante, son-in-law John, parents Filomena and Franceso Braiotta, older sister, Natalie, best friends Gloria, Olympia and Sol, her godchild Valerie, all her in-laws as she was the only surviving one of her generation on her husband’s side, and several nieces and nephews who passed in the prime of their lives. She is survived by her daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as two sisters, one brother-in-law, nieces and nephews. Her main goal in her long life was to feed you despite your appetite. Food was the main way she offered her love, aproned with an open heart and a spoon. She was known for her meatballs and gravy, breaded chicken cutlets and love of sweets. Her first choice of snack was often something like a biscotti, butter pecan or pistachio ice cream, Hershey’s kisses or ripe summer fruits. Juicy Fruit gum was a staple in the little drawer in her nightstand, which she freely shared with her great granddaughters. See’s candy was predictable on her coffee table during holidays, or for no reason other than you were her guest. Eva mainly cooked Italian, having learned from her mother-in-law, Caterina, and only baked Italian as well- cheesecake or cookies like anisette biscotti and tarali, the latter only at Christmas time. One exception was her beloved lemon meringue pie, carefully swirling and beating the fluffy egg whites until a veritable pure pyramid of meringue slid into the oven. A formal Sunday 2pm dinner with guests at her home started with the promising aroma of garlic, red wine (usually Chianti or Gallo), crusty Italian bread and antipasto, followed by meat-filled lasagna or a ziti gravy, a whole roasted chicken with all the side dishes and a simple, traditional green salad with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, celery and black olives dressed always with olive oil and vinegar. (Her secret in both salads and a gravy was to add a pinch or more of white sugar). Dessert was always ambiguous at her table because it was multi-layered. There were sometimes ice cream parfaits, her meringue pie or pastries like cannoli and chocolate eclairs from a “Little Italy” Bronx bakery on Arthur Avenue. Finally, a nut bowl and a nutcracker, dried figs, green or red grapes were put on the table just in case someone somehow was not yet satiated. In the earlier years she always served espresso as well, with anisette on the side. In her later years it was Maxwell House or Folgers brewed in her Mr. Coffee. Born in Carbondale, PA, she moved to the Bronx shortly afterwards. At the age of 12, she was hospitalized for a tonsillectomy, but when the operation left her with a serious infection, she was confined for two years, having to learn how to walk again upon discharge. As a teenager she attended a New York beauty school called Jane Adams, but was needed in the workforce after less than two years when her father became ill. Eva wanted to be a Rockette when she came of age and even applied, but was told she was not tall enough at only 5’3”. She went on to visit Radio City Music Hall to see her beloved Rockettes almost every Christmas for their holiday show. She loved dancing always and her perfect match was Dante, who shared the same passion. In 1943 they married right before he left to serve in WW11. They had 71 years together, one child, Janice Catherine, 5 grandchildren: Constance, Lisa, Jeffrey, Blake and Justin and 8 great grandchildren: Victoria, Parker, Molly, Emily, Colton, Mailyn, Eva and Aliya. Together they were unstoppable with the cha cha and the fox trot, always experimenting with new moves, taking lessons and wearing complementary outfits at the weekly Saturday night dances in their retirement community. Eva and Dante could easily be swept up in one another’s arms dancing spontaneously by a good dance tune on the radio. They never needed a dance floor. For 25 years she worked as a collections loan officer for Dollar Savings Bank in the Bronx and moved to Yonkers with her little family to a split level that her brother-in-law built. Eva was on a bowling team with coworkers for years and wore a dress and high heels to her job 5 days a week. She was a beauty with freckled skin that tanned every Jones Beach summer weekend in NY, with hazel eyes and thick black wavy hair. She loved blues and greens and her favorite flower was a yellow daisy. On her last day of life, she whispered to us all that Dante, her deceased husband, was “the love of my life”. While Eva was always in love with him, she also loved Frank Sinatra and liked to openly declare that he was the only man who could pull her away from her husband. Appropriately, in her final days, Sinatra sang in her room for hours, as she lay in her hospital bed comforted by his familiar voice. She may have had visions of herself in the Apollo Theatre in NYC with Sinatra on stage and 20-somethings, like herself, dancing in the aisles, as her story was told. Besides his music, she watched all Sinatra movies and all the great movies of the 1940’s-1950’s, as long as they were stories of romance. She mostly read romance novels and could get through 500 pages in three days, until her eyesight became poorer. She depended on her favorite tv shows for daily entertainment: Three’s Company, Seinfeld, King of Queens, Dancing With The Stars and Wheel of Fortune. She played Solitaire, Kings in the Corner and Rummikub up until a week before she passed. Eva always had a deck of cards handy in her walker compartment and a tissue up every sleeve and in every pocket. In her last few years she carried a portable phone around with her wherever she went throughout the house because answering the phone always meant she had a connection to others beyond her immediate surroundings. When family or a friend called, she immediately was energized and engaged, feeling the love she had always put out to all coming right back to her. Connecting pleased her immensely, but she always kept the incoming calls short to minimize long distance phone bills of the past, no matter how we tried to update her old world thinking. If Eva reaped what she sowed, she had a full life of loving and being loved. She left all of us with her example of how to live and eat well, and we shall honor her always. She will be placed to rest next to Dante July 23rd. In lieu of flowers, a donation made in her name to Phoenix Childrens’ Hospital’s heart center was her wish.
- Graveside Service Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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Tracey St. Johns
July 23, 2019
What I remember most about Eva, other than her trying to feed people, was her love of playing games. I have good memories playing card games with Eva and Catherine and frequently they both had to wait for me! She seemed to enjoy the play of it all and did well with games all the way to her end. She was a treasure and I’m honored to have known her.
July 22, 2019
She wanted to be a Rockette. Now, how cool would that have been?
There are no height requirements in heaven, beautiful, go shake a leg for me.
And when you see that husband of yours tell him we miss him, too. You two added spice and sass to this family, and like you always said, you can never have too much basil in the spaghetti sauce or oregano in the salad.
Love from the McCarthy's.
July 21, 2019
My sister Eva was very special to me. As her baby sister, she treated me with kid gloves. I looked up to her in many ways. She was not only a beautiful woman but had a beautiful heart and soul. She always wanted the best for me in life. So many times I shared my joy and sadness with her and always received her support and love. I knew she was nearing the end of her long life because she shared her weariness with me. Often saying she wanted to go now and be with her loving husband in heaven. I know that's where she's finding peace and love now. Eva I want you to know how much I loved you and will miss you everyday until we meet again.